On the third day of the ICC Americas Division 1 Championship, USA secured a notable victory against defending champions Bermuda, while Argentina and Suriname suffered further defeats
At Piccolo Park, hosts USA were on top of their game as they outclassed Bermuda with an 86-run victory to remain on course for their second Americas title. After a positive start, USA stumbled to 116 for 5 in the 31st over but Rashad Marshall led the recovery with 71 off 59 balls to lift the total to an impressive 254 for 7. Aditya Thyagarajan offered good support with 42 in a sixth-wicket stand of 119.
Bermuda were promisingly placed in the chase after an 83-run stand for the third wicket between Lionel Cann and Stephen Outerbridge. However, Cann fell for 78 and Bermuda couldn't maintain their challenge against Sudesh Dhaniram, who bowled his 10 overs off the reel to claim an impressive 2 for 18.
Imran Khan, the USA team manager, praised his side's efforts in beating an ODI nation. "We came through with great determination, grit and excellence," he said. "Our batting order was tested, but came through, and our bowling and fielding exerted tremendous pressure when it counted."
Bermuda coach Gus Logie was disappointed at what he felt was a missed opportunity. "We did very well in the field for 35 overs, and a combination of inconsistent bowling and good batting from USA made us pay in the end. We lost our focus and intensity at key moments, and we have to learn to consolidate when we lose wickets."
USA now look forward to the traditional North American clash with Canada on Saturday, knowing that a victory will put them within touching distance of the title, while Bermuda must make sure of victory over Argentina, and hope for a USA loss against Canada, to remain in the hunt.
At the Central Broward Regional Park stadium, Cayman Islands overcame a poor Argentina by 108 runs. They fought back from a slow start which saw them on 20 for 3 through a superb fourth-wicket stand of 167 between captain Pearson Best and Steve Gordon, and ensured the absence of key batsman Hamish Barton wasn't felt. Best struck 109 off 107 balls while Gordon contributed 59.
Any hopes Argentina had of posting a challenge faded against a miserly Cayman Islands attack, led by the Bazil brothers - Kevin and Kevon - who shared seven wickets between them. Kevin Bazil ended with 5 for 13 and he also weighed in a direct-hit run out. Argentina could barely get the ball off the square as they crawled to 41 for 2 after 20 overs and the innings faded away.
"We played much better today than the first two days of course, but we still need to improve in the batting to be consistent, and make better use of the powerplays. It was good to win, but still lots of improvement needed," Best said.
Barton, the player-coach of Argentina, who missed the game through an ankle injury, said: "The Pearson-Best partnership was critical, although in the end it was a good effort to fight back and bowl them out for 230 when they were heading for 260 or 270. But our batting in the middle needs a huge amount of improvement, and we need to show more urgency in picking up runs especially when the bowling is tight. We simply played poorly."
Canada predictably had too much ammunition for Suriname in a comfortable 206-run victory, although they had a few testing moments after slipping to 168 for 7 despite Asif Mulla's 100 off 127 balls. It was left to the lower order to lift Canada to a strong total of 269 for 9, with captain Umar Bhatti making 37 and Eion Katchay contributing a hard-hitting 48 off 32 balls.
Suriname capitulated to 18 for 7 in reply, another example of how they have been completely outclassed in the tournament. Bhatti did most of the damage with 6 for 15, but the quality of the opposition has to be taken into consideration.
And Bhatti was quick to admit there are still areas to improve on. "We performed reasonably well, although there are no excuses for our batting, we should have scored more runs. There are two big games over the weekend, and it's important our top and middle order find more consistency."